How will this factory farm affect the land around you?

Nutrient (Manure) Management Plans

Depending on the province, an ILO proponent may be required to develop a nutrient management plan so that they may dispose of the manure onto the land in an acceptable fashion.

A nutrient management plan attempts to identify suitable nearby acreage for the proponent to spread the manure so that the amount of nitrogen contained in the manure matches the amount of nitrogen that will be removed from the soil by the crop growing on the land in that year. Manure management based on nitrogen quantities alone results in the over-application of phosphorus. Quebec is the only province that has has modified this nutrient balancing exercise by having operators shift towards applying manure based on a crops’ ability to take up phosphorus. Manitoba is also in the process of requiring operators to eventually reduce phosphorus applications onto the land. Excessive or inappropriate manure spreading can also result in copper, zinc, salt and selenium contamination of soils.

To assess what kind of impact the factory farm will have on the land, find out:

  • type of crops grown in the area
  • amount of nutrients applied to the land (nitrogen and phosphorus)
  • does the operator require a permit or certification for manure management
  • available land acres and location for manure spreading
  • tenure status of land for manure spreading (rented or owned)
  • if manure spreading contracts or agreements exist, what is their duration and who is responsible or liable for the application of manure
  • do manure plans require a certification from a professionally trained agrologist
  • will the proponent file a caveat1 on land to be used for manure spreading?
  • how will manure be applied
  • how will manure be transported
  • what distance manure will be transported
  • rate and frequency of manure application
  • suitability of land for manure application (soil classification, permeability, hydrogeologic conditions in the area)
  • slope of land
  • are soil test results or soil samples available or supplied
  • are test bore results available or required in order to construct an earthen manure storage facility (lagoon)?

You may want to involve a professional engineer or agrologist to help with some of the technical aspects of the proposal. Professional assistance may also be available from your local university. Most provinces have updated Canada’s Soil Classification maps of the 1950’s and 60’s and soil and terrain maps may be available on-line from your provincial agriculture department.

Factory farming also generates high animal mortalities which may require a formal dead animal plan. Dead animals are incinerated, composted, buried on site or stockpiled and hauled away to landfill or rendering.

1Caveats are notices from parties who are not owners of lands that they are claiming some right or interest in the lands. Usually this claim results from some agreement entered into between the owner of the lands and the person who filed the caveat. For example many people give Manitoba Hydro the right to run power lines across their lands. Manitoba Hydro will register a caveat to let anyone searching the title know of their agreement with the owner of the lands. This is particularly useful for providing information to people looking to purchase lands.